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Shams Tabrizi in a circa 1503 copy of his disciple Rumi's poem, the "Diwan-e Shams-e Tabriz-i"
Sculpture depicting Shams Tabrizi located near his grave in Khoy, Iran.
Tower marking the location of the grave of Shams Tabrizi in Khoy, Iran.

Shams-e-Tabrīzī or Shams al-Din Mohammad (died 1248) was a Persian[1][2][3] Sufi mystic born in the city of Tabriz in Iran. He introduced Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi, to mysticism, for which he was immortalized in Rumi's poetry collection Diwan-e Shams-e Tabriz-i (The Works of Shams of Tabriz). Shams lived with Rumi in Konya for several years, and then traveled to Damascus.

Contents

Years spent with Rumi

According to Sipah Salar, a devotee and intimate friend of Rumi who spent forty years with him, Shams was the son of Imam Ala al-Din. Shams received his education in Tabriz and was a disciple of Baba Kamal al-Din Jumdi. Before meeting Rumi, he traveled from place to place weaving and selling girdles for a living.[4]

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Two versions of a tale

Verbal tradition records two versions of an encounter between Rumi and Sham. In the first version, Rumi was reading next to a large stack of books. Shams Tabriz, passing by, asked him, "What are you doing?" Rumi scoffingly replied, "Something you cannot understand." On hearing this, Shams threw the stack of books into a nearby pool of water. Rumi hastily rescued the books and to his surprise they were all dry. Rumi then asked Shams, "What is this?" To which Shams replied, "Mowlana, this is what you cannot understand."

A second version of the tale has Shams passing by Rumi who again is reading a book. Rumi regards as an uneducated stranger. Shams asks Rumi what he is doing, to which Rumi replies, "Something that you do not understand!" At that moment, the books suddenly catch fire and Rumi asks Shams to explain what happened. His reply was, "Something you do not understand."[5]

After several years with Rumi, Shams left and settled in Khoy. As the years passed, Rumi attributed more and more of his own poetry to Shams as a sign of love for his departed friend and master. In Rumi's poetry Shams becomes a symbol of God's love for mankind; Shams was a sun ("Shams" means "Sun" in Arabic) shining the Light of God on Rumi.

Shams Tabrizi died in Khoy and is buried there. His tomb has been nominated as a World Cultural Heritage Center by UNESCO.[6] A saint by the name of Shams Tabrizi is buried at Multan, Pakistan. The tomb stone clearly indicates it is the same Shams Tabrizi, who was the spiritual mentor of Rumi.

Discourses of Shams Tabrizi

The Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi (Discourses of Shams Tabrizi) is a Persian prose book written by Shams.[7][8] The Maqalat seems to have been written during the later years of Shams, as he speaks of himself as an old man. Overall, it is a Sufic interpretation of Islam and contains spiritual advice.

Some excerpts from the Maqalat provide insight into the thoughts of Shams:

  • Blessing is excess, so to speak, an excess of everything. Don't be content with being a faqih (religious scholar), say I want more - more than being a Sufi (a mystic), more than being a mystic - more than each thing that comes before you.
  • A good man complains of no one; he does not look to faults.
  • Joy is like pure clear water; wherever it flows, wondrous blossoms grow...Sorrow is like a black flood; wherever it flows it wilts the blossoms.
  • And the Persian language, how did it happen? With so much elegance and goodness such that the meanings and elegance that is found in the Persian language is not found in Arabic.[9][10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Manouchehr Mortazavi. Zaban-e-Dirin Azerbaijan (On the Old language of Azerbaijan). Bonyat Moqoofaat Dr. Afshar. 2005(1384). منوچهر مرتضوی، زبان دیرین آذربایجان، بنیاد موقوفات دکتر افشار، 138۴. pg 49, see comments on the old language of Tabriz as well as Old Azari language]
  2. ^ Claude Cahen, "Pre-Ottoman Turkey: a general survey of the material and spiritual culture and history, c. 1071-1330", Sidgwick & Jackson, 1968. pg 258: "He may also have met the great Persian mysitic Shams al-Din Tabrizi there, but it was only later that the full influence of this latter was to be exerted on him."
  3. ^ Everett Jenkins, "Volume 1 of The Muslim Diaspora The Muslim Diaspora: A Comprehensive Reference to the Spread of Islam in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, Everett Jenkins", McFarland, 1999. pg 212: "The Persian mystic Shams al-Din Tabrizi arrived in Konya (Asia Minor)". ISBN 0786404310, 9780786404315
  4. ^ A History of Muslim Philosophy, Vol II; M.M. Sharif. Page 824
  5. ^ [1] Franklin Lewis, Rumi, Past and Present, East and West, pp. 154-161.
  6. ^ [2] 3 Timurid Skeletons Discovered near Minaret of Shams-e Tabrizi
  7. ^ Franklin Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East and West, Oneworld Publications, 2000
  8. ^ Shams al-Din Tabrizi, Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi, ed. Mohammad-Ali Movahhed (Tehran: Sahami, Entesharat-e Khwarazmi, 1990) Note: This is a two-volume edition
  9. ^ Shams al-Din Tabrizi, Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi, ed. Mohammad-Ali Movahhed (ehran: Sahami, Entesharat-e Khwarazmi, 1990). Note: This is a two volume edition. Actual quote: زبان پارسی را چه شده است؟ بدین لطیفی و خوبی، که آن معانی و لطافت که در زبان پارسی آمده است و در تازی نیامده است»
  10. ^ Also found in: William Chittick, "Me and Rumi: : The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi", Annotated and Translated. (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2004)
  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • William Chittick, Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi, Annotated and Translated. (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2004)
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. ASIN B-000-6BXVT-K

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Shams-e-Tabrīzī (or in full, Shams al-Din Mohammad, literally: Sun of Islam, died 1248) was an Iranian Sufi mystic born in the city of Tabriz in Iranian Azerbaijan. He introduced Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, usually known as Rumi in the West, to Islamic mysticism, for which he was immortalized in Rumi's poetry collection Diwan-e Shams-e Tabriz-i ("The Works of Shams of Tabriz"). Shams lived together with Rumi in Konya, in present-day Turkey, for several years, and is also known to have traveled to Damascus in present-day Syria.

Sourced

  • There may be one fault in a man that conceals a thousand qualities, or one excellence that conceals a thousand faults. The little indicates much.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • Intellect takes you to the door, but it doesn't take you into the house.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • The salat can be made up for, but there is no making up for false show or outward worship without presence.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • Whoever lives as he sees fit will not die as he sees fit.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • Nothing kills the soul that commands to evil (Nafs al Ammarra) like seeing the beauty of the heart.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • Alms in secret extinguish the wrath of the Lord means you are so immersed in sincerity and in preserving that sincerity that you have no pleasure in giving alms.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • You have to live with the people in hypocrisy for them to stay happy with you.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • He said The Sufi is the son of the moment.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • When you oppose the shaykh, it's like the slave who kills himself over a quarrel with his master. Hey, why are you killing yourself over a quarrel?
    He says, So my master will suffer loss.
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.
  • Being the companion of the folk of this world is fire. There must be an Abraham if the fire is not going to burn [you].
    • Me & Rumi translated by William C. Chittick from Maqalat-i Shams-i Tabrizi.

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